You are here
Kemp passing hits Spanos family hard
Chargers News To Your Inbox!
Sign up for the free Chargers email newsletter and stay in the know with all things Bolts.
“I am heartbroken at the loss of a friend whom I respected and admired,” said Owner Alex G. Spanos. “Jack was dedicated in serving his country and the greater good of the community and his fellow man. The Chargers lost a member of its family and the country lost one of the great Americans of our time.”
The loss hit the entire Spanos family hard.
“Jack was a special person,” team President Dean Spanos said. “He made a positive impact on everything he touched: on the country, on pro football and, most important to me, on my entire family. He was a good friend and we will miss him terribly.”
Kemp was under center for the first game in Chargers history as he led the Los Angeles Chargers to a 21-20 victory over the Dallas Texans. He played for the Chargers from 1960-62 and posted a 22-6 record as a starter.
In 1962, Kemp broke his middle finger two games into the season and Chargers Head Coach Sid Gillman put him on waivers in attempt to “hide” him. The Buffalo Bills quickly snatched him up, and Kemp enjoyed eight seasons with the Bills. He was named AFL MVP in 1965, a season in which he led Buffalo to the AFL title. The Bills also won the AFL Championship in 1964 under Kemp's direction.
While his football career was still in full swing, Kemp began working on his career after football as he got involved in politics. While with the Chargers, he served as an editorial assistant to San Diego Union editor Herb Klein. Kemp also volunteered on Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign as well as Ronald Reagan’s 1966 Gubernatorial race, which Reagan won.
Kemp was first elected to congress in 1971. He ran for president in 1988 and vice president in 1996 as Bob Dole’s running mate. Kemp also served on President George H. Bush’s cabinet during his term in the White House.
Kemp is survived by his wife Joanne and their four children as well as 17 grandchildren. The couple's sons, Jeff and Jimmy, followed in their father’s athletic footsteps as Jeff played 10 seasons in the NFL and Jimmy enjoyed a lengthy career in the Canadian Football League.